While USA Today reports (linked here) on ESPN’s heated up bidding already on future Olympics, we came across this:
By Nancy Armour
The Associated Press
CHICAGO — The U.S. Olympic Committee isn’t giving up the idea of its own television network.
Though it’s “on pause” for now, acting CEO Stephanie Streeter said on Wednesday she still believes a network would help Olympic sports that get little — if any — attention between games.
“I continue to believe — as does the IOC, I think — that a properly planned and structured U.S. Olympic Network will deliver great benefits to the entire Olympic and Paralympic movement, and to all of you,” Streeter said in a keynote address to the U.S. Olympic Assembly. “And I’m looking forward to engaging in that dialogue in full partnership with the IOC in the future.”
USOC leaders touted the network as a way to increase interest in the Olympic movement and as a complement to NBC. But it dropped the idea last month after a very harsh reception by the International Olympic Committee, which worried about offending NBC, the network that provides the IOC’s largest chunk of revenue with a $2.2 billion deal to broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Olympics. NBC also has the rights to the U.S. Olympic trials for both games and is committed to bidding for the 2014 and 2016 TV rights.
The dispute threatened to harm Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Games, coming just weeks before the IOC’s Oct. 2 vote on a host city.
“Simply put, we miscalculated the negative response,” Streeter said. “While we received many positive statements of support at home and from international members of the Olympic and Paralympic families, we have put the network on ‘pause.’”
Streeter also said the USOC was still strong financially. Reserves are “well up” from where they were four years ago, and the board approved a $16.5 million budget for winter sports in June. That brings total funding for the current four-year period to $58.2 million, a 55.2 percent increase from 2003-06.
“Financially, thanks to some prudent business decisions to rein in spending and be good stewards of Olympic dollars, we’re on solid ground,” Streeter said.
And looking forward to success at the Vancouver Olympics, just five months away.
One prognosticator has the Americans winning 13 gold meals in Vancouver, which would top the 10 they won in Salt Lake City 2002. Overall, the Americans are projected to win 28 medals, one less than host Canada. The projections are based on results at recent world championships or equivalent events.
“While none of us can predict what will happen on any given day, it is a real tribute to these athletes, their coaches and their NGBs to know that we’re heading to Vancouver with … athletes who will challenge for medals in dozens of events,” she said.